Anonymous asked in Family & RelationshipsWeddings · 1 decade ago

Can I address the outer envelope in a less traditional way?

I'm getting married in 2009, not 1909 and I personally don't feel comfortable addressing any of my married friends as "Mr. & Mrs. John Doe". It just seems so sexist to me. What are some other ways I can properly address the outer envelope?


WOW,,,got some harsh comments on this. I, myself intend on taking his last name but, as I did mention before, we are in a VERY different time where the rules should be re-written a bit. I don't think it would be rude at all to include a woman's name along with her husband's on the invitation as I assume she still has an identity-and if that's not formal then I guess the name on her paycheck isn't either??? Give me a break, if you still believe in this motto then you def. give us women a bad name.

Update 2:

I'm not when addressing a married woman by herself, it is Mrs. Jane Doe or Jane Doe. But when addressing both her and her husband, she is only referred to simply as Mrs. John Doe, and this is okay? And she is completely happy with this? Right...Once again this is my opinion, and if you don't like it, you don't need to answer. Simple. I just want other examples of how I can properly address formal invitations without going this route.

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    We didn't bother using the Mr. and Mrs. either. We just used first and last names. Either Jane and John Doe if they both use the same name, or Jane Doe and John Smith if they don't have the same last name. We kept our invitations very informal, without all the old-fashioned wording. It suits our style more and it's what made us happy! If you don't want it to sound like it's from 1909, you can!! That's the beauty of it being YOUR day! Good luck!! :)

  • 1 decade ago

    You may certainly use untraditional forms if you wish -- especially since most people get it wrong when they assume that a particular form is traditional, anyway. Perhaps it will help you, if we go over the correct forms, which actually ARE non-sexist.

    First, the inner envelope: this is the "real" envelope, intended to convey the formality of the occasion. Proper formal titles for a married couple are "Mr and Mrs Doe" -- with no first names at all! Problem solved, and you've been properly formally traditional. Proper informal address is "Jane and John Doe" -- also non-sexist. Proper form if a lady has a different surname from her husband is "Mr Doe and Madam Phipps" or "Jane Phipps and John Doe", again depending on formality.

    Second, the outer envelope is intended solely to get the real inner envelope and its contents through the postal system. You follow postal system regulations on that one, including making sure you clearly and unambiguously identify the addressee to whom the post office is legally permitted to release the envelope. It doesn't matter to them whether you write "Jane Doe", "Mr and Mrs John and Jane Doe" or any other form as long as it's the addressee's legal name, and you include the full address with all required postal, zip, and zone codes. The addressee throws away this outer envelope once it is successfully delivered, and refers to the inner envelope to see whom you have invited and how formal the wedding is.

  • 1 decade ago

    I love this question and agree with you about the names issue. You can certainly address them in a different way! I don't think guests will notice or care much either way (and even women who don't like being called "Mrs. John Doe" are surely used to it and won't get offended by your invite) but I think if YOU don't like its implications -- and kudos for actually thinking about it rather than mindlessly doing what everyone else does -- then simply address the invites in a different way. Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Jane Smith. John and Jane Smith. The Smiths. (Assuming they don't have kids you don't plan to invite, ha.) Choose whatever degree of formality suits you!

  • 1 decade ago

    ♥ I personally feel that addressing your friends/family by John & Jane Doe is perfectly acceptable. You could address it as Mr. John & Mrs. Jane Doe, but that just adds unnecessary writing. I personally feel if I wouldn't call my friend Mrs. John Doe in real life would would I call her that on an invite? You know? As you mentioned she does have her own identity and even if she took her husbands last name doesn't mean she has to forever more lose her first name.

    Congratulations and good luck!

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    The outer is supposed to be more formal, the inner can be more personal. It's not rude to address someone in this way, it's the acceptable way to do it. If you choose not to go with tradition, that decision is yours. Your alluding to the paycheck doesn't make sense - the check is made out to her alone, not to the couple. That's where the discrepancy in your example lies.

    My sister-in-law hates being called "Mrs John Doe" however she takes less offense when being addressed together - Mr and Mrs John Doe.

    If it's a formal wedding, your best bet is to address it formally. If you know anybody that takes extreme offense to this, address it as "Mr and Mrs Doe" only. And address all of the inside envelopes individually - Mr John and Mrs Jane; John and Jane; Mr and Mrs Doe...

    EDIT::: LOL to your "...and she is perfectly happy with this"! Sorry, but I did actually chuckle at that! :-) To answer - some people are, some aren't. I'm perfectly okay with being addressed as just "Mrs Doe" or having my mail addressed to "Mrs John Doe." But that's me, personally. Obviously, that doesn't suit everyone. As I said, my sil hates it.

    My opinion? To each his own! But don't knock the tradition because YOU don't like it. Some people do. And, again, as the saying goes... "Some traditions are made to be broken!"

    And, hey, there is a flipside... when you address couples BEFORE they're married, you're supposed to only address it to the female, and add the male's name underneath to the inner envelope only.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think Mr John and Mrs Jane Doe should be fine and keeping it more formal than Mr and Ms Doe.

    I am generally most concerned with etiquette rather than tradition. While you probably want to try and keep it formal, being polite is the important thing and not just following traditions. I am more worried about keeping registration info out than what is written on the outside.

  • 1 decade ago

    Do you have a problem with "Mr. John & Mrs. Jane Doe" ?

    If not, then use that. It keeps the formality of their titles (Mr./Mrs.) but adds their first names so both people are mentioned by name.

  • 1 decade ago

    Mr and Mrs John and Jane Doe, that's how I'm doing it!

  • 1 decade ago

    I am married, not overly traditional but if you receive a wedding invite I expect it to say, "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe." Anything else is just not formal enough or sounds like we are divorced or something.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We're having an informal wedding, so I used informal addressing on my envelopes. I addressed them to their names, not their titles. Do whatever feels right with the formality of your wedding.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.